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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Wonder if Jon Gruden is watching

4

January

I'm sitting here in the press box at Dolphin Stadium in Miami where 23-year-old rookie QB Joe Flacco is handling himself just fine for a guy playing in his first playoff game.

Win or lose, the Ravens have a foundation on offense that they can build upon, and that's because the most important piece is in place: the quarterback.

Flacco was the 17th overall pick last April -- certainly not a can't-miss, Matt Ryan-like choice. There was a chance the move might not work out. The Ravens were planning to let him sit for a year until injuries to Kyle Boller and Troy Smith forced him into action.

But the bottom line is, Baltimore had conviction about the kid, and it went for it.

Bucs coach Jon Gruden says Tampa Bay hasn't had an opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback. To some extent, that's true. But picking a quarterback in the fifth round as they did with Josh Johnson last year isn't showing conviction about a guy. That's more along the lines of taking a chance on a kid who the franchise admits is a project.

Jeff Garcia will soon be 39. Brian Griese isn't the answer. Luke McCown is a free agent and plans to look elsewhere for work. Johnson remains a work in progress.

So, is this the year the Bucs make a play for the franchise quarterback everyone is clamoring for? I'm not sure, but the Ravens certainly are making a compelling case.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:21pm]

    

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